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Friends of Earth

Journey of a Columban Co-worker

By Danish Yakoob

My name is Danish Yakoob and I’m from Latifabad, Hyderabad, Pakistan. I have been working as a Columban co-worker in the Hyderabad Diocese since November 1, 2016. I have been married to Sania since 2009, and God has blessed us with a son and two daughters.

Before joining the Columbans, I worked as the field officer for the Hyderabad Diocese on the Justice and Peace Commission of the Major Superiors Leadership Conference of Pakistan (MSLCP) from 2006-2016, during which time I worked on three main projects. From 2006-2008, I worked with students and teachers in schools to promote peace in society. From 2009-2011, I worked with women on the reduction of violence and discrimination against women. And from 2012-2014, I worked with community members on human rights education to ensure the rights of laborers.

Friends of the EarthI have also worked on various relief works with the Columban Fathers over the years, with flood affected people in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and also with victims of drought in Thar Parkar desert. I worked with Fr. Tanvir O’Hanlon and the Columban Justice Peace, Integrity of Creation (JPIC) team on Care of Creation when they visited Hyderabad Diocese on a number of occasions. In 2016 I collaborated with Fr. Liam for eight months on ecological issues before joining the Columban JPIC/IRD (Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation and Inter-religious Dialogue) team.

During my professional career I have empowered and trained community members within different fields and professions in the protection and promotion of human rights. During 2013-2014, I was part of a team whose efforts helped release 82 bonded laborers from the illegal detention by landlords in Sindh. I am passionate about working with the youth and have volunteered as a Youth Coordinator and Trainer in St. Elizabeth Parish, Latifabad, and as a Youth Secretary of the Diocesan Youth Commission working to empower them on leadership and life skills and career guidance.

Now, I am involved with Interfaith Harmony, Care of Creation and justice issues with the Columban Fathers as a co-worker and am happy to learn new ways of serving the Church in the promotion of human rights, especially among the poor.

Over the last three years, the Columban JPIC/IRD team has been actively involved on ecological issues, raising awareness of these issues, especially among the poor, as the ecological crisis is particularly critical in Pakistan, in order that they may protect themselves and their families from its worst effects. We collaborate with a number of schools and community groups, offering training seminars so that they can become “Mahool Dost,” Friends of the Earth.

We also work throughout the Diocese as part of the Diocesan Ecology Commission, providing materials for parishes and schools on ecological matters and Laudato Si’.

My work brings life to me like in my favorite Bible verse, Luke 4:16:

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Danish Yakoob lives and works in Pakistan.